Prelude, A Novel & The 1854 Diary of Adeline Elizabeth Hoe Helen Taylor Davidson; Richard Davidson, ed.
Peter E. Randall Publisher 2013 • 296 pp. 14 illus. 6 x 9" Historical Fiction / Children's Fiction - Historical / Children's Fiction 19th Century U.S.
$24.95 Hardcover, 978-1-931807-80-7
In the spring of 1854 seventeen-year-old Adeline Elizabeth Hoe began to keep a daily diary. . . centuries later, her descendant brought it to life in a novel
Filled with six months of the details of a young girl’s life, this annotated and edited diary offers a wonderful window into the mind of an educated young woman from a well-to-do family living in Lower Manhattan in the turbulent decade before the Civil War. Adeline recorded her experiences and reflections during the summer that proved to be the prelude to her adulthood and the coming fate of the nation.
Addie’s father, Richard March Hoe, revolutionized printing with his invention of a lithographic rotary press. The Hoe’s greater family circle included Meads, Dodds, and Harpers—figures from major publishing houses still in business today. Addie met the artist William Sydney Mount and musician William Batchelder Bradbury.
Prelude was inspired by the enigmatic references in Addie’s diary to people and events that ultimately bring her to support the efforts of the Underground Railroad. Joe Stewart is a mysterious character from the diary who brings a hint of romance to the novel.
This title appeals to nineteenth-century historians, scholars, and librarians. Women’s studies scholars will also enjoy the writings of this empowered girl as she develops social responsibility. Young adult readers will find Prelude exciting as Addie learns to help runners on the Underground Railroad.
Reviews / Endorsements
“Diaries are a tool for history, both for recording events and providing context: showing not only how contemporaries viewed the event but sometimes how opinion began to change. And one such tool for the history of nineteenth-century New York City is The 1854 Diary of Adeline Elizabeth Hoe…. In Prelude, Davidson has written a novella sparked by a hint of romance in the Diary.”—George W. Martin, Historian and Author of CCB: The Life and Century of Charles C. Burlingham, New York’s First Citizen, 1858–1959
HELEN TAYLOR DAVIDSON, a music teacher, choral director, dramatist, and writer, transcribed and annotated the diary with her husband, Richard, through many years of research. DR. RICHARD DAVIDSON is an English professor, former dairy farmer, author, and essayist. He has written for Down East magazine and the Christian Science Monitor. They live in Plainfield, N.H.